Emmanuel Macron, a Pyrrhic victory?

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The outgoing president was re-elected for a five-year term on Sunday with 58.54% of the vote against Marine Le Pen (41.46%). A victory won thanks to a “republican front” more fragile than ever that could no longer hold up in five years.

The bill paid off. By winning his duel against Marine Le Pen with 58.54% of the vote against 41.46% of the far-right candidate, Emmanuel Macron was ousted on Sunday 24 Apriland Republic that has been subject to re-election since Jacques Chirac in 2002. But with abstentions of 28.01%, white votes representing 6.35%, and 2.25% invalid votes, Emmanuel Macron is also a president who faces an even tougher legitimacy check than he did in 2017.

Twenty years after the extreme right first joined the second round of the presidential elections and the 82.21% achieved by Jacques Chirac against Jean-Marie Le Pen thanks to the “Republic Front”, Emmanuel Macron is therefore re-elected in 2022 “only” 58, 54% of the votes. A sign of voter fatigue at having to block an extreme right that is advancing in France.

>> To read: Presidential election: Emmanuel Macron, the outrageous re-election

Emmanuel Macron, who cannot stand for re-election in 2027 under the provisions of the constitution that prohibits serving more than two consecutive terms, understood this well.

“I also know that many of our compatriots voted for me today, not to support the ideas I represent, but to block those of the extreme right. And I want to thank them here and tell them that I’m aware that this vote obliges me for years to come. I am the guardian of their sense of duty, their attachment to the Republic and their respect for the differences that have been expressed in recent weeks,” he told his assembled Champ-de-Mars supporters in Paris on Sunday evening.

“I also think of all our compatriots who abstained from voting. Their silence meant a refusal to vote, to which we must also respond,” he continued. Finally, I think of those who voted for Mrs Le Pen, including those I know, who are disappointed tonight. (…) The anger and disagreements that prompted them to vote for this project must also find an answer. It will be my responsibility and that of those around me,” the head of state assured, promising that “from now on” he was “no longer the candidate of one camp, but the president of all”.

Marine Le Pen as the only opponent

A speech reminiscent of his first victory on May 7, 2017, when he declared of Marine Le Pen’s voters that he would “do everything so that they no longer have a reason to vote for the extremes”. Five years later, the promise was not kept: in the end, more than 2.6 million additional voters chose to put a Marine Le Pen ballot in the ballot box.

It must be said that the President of the Republic has made Marine Le Pen his main opponent, replacing the left-right split with the opposition of the “progressives” against the “nationalists”, which according to his opponents on the left and, moreover, the right-wing bets that a second ballot against the extreme right would secure his re-election thanks to the famous Republican front. Thus, Emmanuel Macron occupied the field with issues dear to the heart of the extreme right, regularly bringing the national debate back, as in the months following the Yellow Vests crisis, on issues related to immigration, Islam or security.

>> To see: Speech by Emmanuel Macron after his victory in the 2nd round of the 2022 presidential election

On the evening of his re-election, Emmanuel Macron is approaching his second term in a very different context than in 2017. The freshness of youth and the novelty that had carried him five years ago and enabled him to win an absolute majority in the following general elections disappeared. And nothing says that this time he will succeed in regaining control of the National Assembly.

In a France now divided into three blocs – Emmanuel Macron’s liberal bloc, Marine Le Pen’s nationalist bloc and Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s far-left bloc – 56% of French people want the general elections on the 12th and 19th to be held June live together, according to a survey by our partner Ipsos-Sopra Steria.

“The third round starts tonight”

The political opponents of the President of the Republic also have their sights set on this meeting. Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Mélenchon rushed to turn to what they call the “third round” of the presidential election, minutes after the results were announced.

“The game is not quite played yet,” Marine Le Pen launched in front of his supporters. “Tonight we start the great campaign of the parliamentary elections, I will fight this battle (…) with all those who had the courage to face Emmanuel Macron in the second round,” he stressed that “the historic result of this evening brings our camp in excellent condition to receive a large number of deputies next June”.

>> For further reading: Presidential elections: Le Pen and Mélenchon are already turning to the “third round” of the parliamentary elections

“My thoughts go out to the future victims of this situation, the exhausted people retiring three years later, the people who are financially strapped and who will not see price blocking, the people who know how the ecological inaction of Mr Macron is a crime,” Jean-Luc Mélenchon enumerated. “Don’t give up,” he told them. “Take open and massive action, democracy can give us the tools to change course again. The third round starts tonight.”

To contain anger and dissatisfaction, Emmanuel Macron promised a “new era” that “will not be the continuity of the five-year term that is coming to an end, but the collective invention of a newly founded method”. The head of state now has seven weeks before the parliamentary elections to convince.

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